Whether it’s rolling out drone technology on farms or testing how small changes in behavior bring big changes in impact, TechnoServe works constantly to advance knowledge in our field. We share reports on these new approaches on our website, so that future work can build on these findings and achieve even greater impact.
Below, we spotlight two of these reports from 2018, on projects that each delivered insights with game-changing potential in the sectors where they worked.
A three-year initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation piloted and evaluated ways to harness emerging technologies for the benefit of the rural poor in East Africa. The project demonstrated the potential of innovations like using drones for precision agriculture; mobile platforms to connect small farmers with buyers; new models for delivering veterinary services to nomadic pastoralists and cutting-edge soil-testing technology.
The Coalition for Smallholder Sourcing—a partnership between TechnoServe, several African agribusinesses, and research firms—conducted randomized controlled trials and showed how simple innovations and tweaks to business models could improve the performance of supply chains and boost the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
Introducing Our New Knowledge Platform
All of TechnoServe’s projects contain valuable lessons—and now for the first time, these lessons are in one place. This year, TechnoServe launched “What We’ve Learned,” an interactive platform providing technical, practical lessons from completed projects around the world, sorted by sector and geography. We hope these insights will improve the success of similar development initiatives in the future—both at TechnoServe and beyond.
Because they are quicker to take up new technologies and methods, youth can be enlisted to help their parents and other older farmers adopt new agricultural approaches. Youth outreach is therefore an important component of agricultural training programs.
Farmers rarely track how much they feed their cows, so underfeeding and overfeeding are rampant. Bringing a scale to farmers’ homes to see if they are deviating from the recommended feeding amounts, and explaining how this hurts their profitability, is an effective tool to combat the problem.
In areas where demand for mulching material outstrips supply, coffee farmers can plant vetiver grass to control soil erosion and produce mulch.
Community members such as market-level leaders and other businesses serve as some of the best recruiters for participants in entrepreneurship training; programs should engage them early on.